"I am uncomfortable sharing what I can't see": Privacy Concerns of the Visually Impaired with Camera Based Assistive Applications


Taslima Akter, Indiana University Bloomington; Bryan Dosono, Syracuse University; Tousif Ahmed and Apu Kapadia, Indiana University Bloomington; Bryan Semaan, Syracuse University


The emergence of camera-based assistive technologies has empowered people with visual impairments (VIP) to obtain independence in their daily lives. Popular services feature volunteers who answer questions about photos or videos (e.g., to identify a medical prescription). However, people with VIPs can (inadvertently) reveal sensitive information to these volunteers. To better understand the privacy concerns regarding the disclosure of background objects to different types of human assistants (friends, family, and others), we conducted an online survey with 155 visually impaired participants. In general, our participants had varying concerns depending on the type of assistants and the kind of information. We found that our participants were more concerned about the privacy of bystanders than their own when capturing people in images. We also found that participants were concerned about self-presentation and were more comfortable sharing embarrassing information with family than with their friends. Our findings suggest directions for future work in the development of human-assisted question-answering systems. Specifically, we discuss how humanizing these systems can give people a greater sense of personal security.

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@inproceedings {244030,
author = {Taslima Akter and Bryan Dosono and Tousif Ahmed and Apu Kapadia and Bryan Semaan},
title = {"I am uncomfortable sharing what I can{\textquoteright}t see": Privacy Concerns of the Visually Impaired with Camera Based Assistive Applications},
booktitle = {29th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security 20)},
year = {2020},
isbn = {978-1-939133-17-5},
pages = {1929--1948},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/usenixsecurity20/presentation/akter},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug

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